3 On Your Side

Used car purchase leads to title fiasco

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Don't be duped by a duplicate auto title. (July 24, 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS 5] Don't be duped by a duplicate auto title. (July 24, 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS 5]

A Tolleson man wanted to buy a larger, used car for his growing family but, he wound up in the middle of a major mess.

Victor Leyva and his future wife are having a baby.

“My fiancée is pregnant, we're having a kid and she has three little ones of her own, so we needed a bigger car.”

In search of a bigger vehicle, Leyva found himself on Craigslist and came across an SUV that fit their budget.

“Looked at several SUVs, not all of them were compatible so we got the Suburban, found it online, Craigslist. Purchased it for $3,000.”

For the money, he said it was just what his family needed. However, when he took it to the Motor Vehicle Division to register it, he was told he couldn't because there was a big problem with the title the seller gave him.

“The car doesn't belong to us and we're out the money.” 

This is what happened:
The seller of the Suburban went to MVD and told them he had lost the original title and applied for what's called a "duplicate title," which is like a copy.

MVD gave the seller that duplicate title, which automatically invalidates the other one.
The seller then gave Leyva the "invalid" title.

“They just told me that because someone took out a duplicate title that I need the latest copy the newest copy.”

In similar cases, unscrupulous sellers frequently take the updated "duplicate title" to a title loan company and use that "sold" car as collateral to get more money. It's a common scheme.

3 On Your Side contacted MVD and the agency is currently investigating.

In the meantime, this is what you need to do to keep from becoming a victim like Leyva.

First, if you're buying a vehicle, these are some things you should consider:

  • Pay the seller.
  • Confirm the title is clean.
  • Register the car in your name.
  • Always meet the seller at an MVD location.

At an MVD location you can confirm that the title is clean. If it is, pay the seller for the vehicle and since your already at MVD, go ahead and register the car in your name right there.

Leyva says he wishes he would have followed these tips because now he's stuck with an SUV he can't register or get plates for.

“I got to go to work, my wife is seven months pregnant, doctor's appointments. For groceries, everything, I use the car for everything!”

3 On Your Side is still working with MVD to see if they can help out in this situation.

In the meantime, for only a $1.50, you can also log onto MVD’s website to see if a car you're interested in has a clean and free title.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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